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Torah and Veda are two ancient sources of spirituality still vibrant today. Torah is conveyed through the sacred language of Hebrew and Veda is conveyed through the sacred language of Sanskrit. The focus here is on meditation, mysticism, philosophy, psychology and the underlying spirituality that has been incorporated into religions, and not as much on the religions themselves. Your comments and posts are welcome.

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Quote of the Week 379 - Song


Those who wish to sing always find a song.


--Swedish Proverb


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http://www.interfaithci.org/contemplative.html


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http://www.neshamainterfaithcenter.org/specialevents/#contemplation










Sunday, February 8, 2009

Existence

[The following pieces were written in 1973, when I was 22 years old. They represent the outcome of much catharsis and a significant epiphany, after several years of intense and often agonizing spiritual longing and searching.]


Existence

First Principles:
I am. I want to be. I want to continue being. To my limited conscious knowledge, I was born not of my own choosing. For many years, I did not question the fact or meaning of my birth. In this sense, I was a "reactive" and dependent being. I was dependent on outside sources and stimuli to nurture me, and I reacted to them accordingly to satisfy my will and drive to live. If I was left alone with only my own resources at that time, I would have died; even though the fact of my very being was saying, "I am. I want to be. I want to continue being."
And as I grew and was nurtured, I continued to react to stimuli, pressures, and forces presented to me so that I could continue to be. I reacted to the ever-increasing varieties of stimuli presented to me accordingly; I avoided pain and discomfort as best I could and reacted in ways that would bring me pleasure and comfort. I did not question the authorities and sources of nurture that I was dependent on; I just reacted to all presented to me in accordance with my will to live.
During the process of my nurturing, there somehow slowly evolved a self-consciousness and self-awareness that eventually led to the acute realization that it was within the realm of my individual resources to cease to be. Having the knowledge of this power led to the realization that I no longer had to be if I did not want to be. And further self-consciousness, following from this new knowledge made me question the very fact of my being, which was something I had never done before.
Now, questioning my very being also had the effect of questioning all the things that my being seemed to be contingent on - all the stimuli, pressures, and forces that I had been reacting to in accordance with my will to live.

So, since being born, I have gradually been transformed from an entity unconsciously willing to live and unquestioningly reacting to the environment in order to fulfill that will to live, to an entity that consciously questions the will to live and that has at its disposal the power to negate its life if it so desires. One profound result of this transformation is the conscious realization that I need not immediately react to many of the stimuli, forces, and pressures that I unconsciously thought I always had to be reacting to in order to live. There is an important difference between obligation to live and desire to live: the unconscious reactive being saw no choice but to live, which often made living an obligatory task; the conscious being is not obliged to life or any of its tasks, for it can accept or reject life, with its contingencies, as it so desires. I am still a dependent being and I still am a reactive being, but the added dimension of this acute consciousness is tantamount to the birth of a new self. The life of the new self is its own; I can choose to live or die as I so please. With either choice, I am aware that I face factors that as of yet are unknown to me and that are outside of my control and/or understanding.

* * *

The babbling mind questioning itself:
I am, therefore I think and I question. Or perhaps, I think, therefore I am and I question.
But who are you?
I am me.
But why do you exist?
I exist because I want to.
Why do you want to?
Because.
Because why?
Because...why not? I need no other explanation or justification.
But with all the suffering, inconsistencies, contradictions, inhumanity, etc...in the world, and all the pressures on your life and the often absurdity and doubtfulness of it all, why go on living? Why not just end it all now?
I've thought about all of that over and over again, and every time I ponder it, I decide to live. It's not all that bad, and besides, I'll die soon enough anyway. I think there's definitely something worth living for; I can feel it in my bones. I have my steadfast will to live, to see myself through life, and to learn what I can along the way. That's all there is to it. All else will follow. Right now, I am, I want to be, and I want to continue to be.
MMM...

* * *

At every moment, the decision is automatically made and accepted that I want to live. But this automatic subconscious decision-making is at the call of closer conscious scrutiny and re-evaluation whenever it is desired. And since my continued being is a function of my on-going desire and choice to be, my life should at least always be to my contentment.

The Guiding Principle and Its Demand for Honesty.

There is a force within me that is not within my conscious control or comprehension. I know it exists because I have in some way perceived, experienced it and have felt its effects upon me. I am conscious of its existence and accept its existence as a condition of my life. Yet its existence has the effect of affecting my decision to live and how to live my life. It is a determining factor of my behavior in that it judges my actions as either satisfactory or unsatisfactory. When I act in accordance and harmony with it, it leads to my affirming my life and way of living; when I act in opposition and discord to it, it makes me question and doubt my reasons for living. In this sense, it is one and the same with my will to live and the essence of my life. To consciously deny it would necessitate my self-imposed death. To lose conscious touch with it would be to lose self-consciousness and meaning to my life. To merge consciousness with it would be to become my life and my reason for living.
Unless I wish to speak for it, my existence speaks for itself.

* * *
I.
I am.
I think.
I question.
I have the power to be.
I have the power to cease being.
I constantly question my reason for being.
The constant questioning of my life necessitates the constant affirming of my life, acceptance of the conditions necessary to live and exercising the power to meet those conditions; or the negating of my life, acceptance of the conditions necessary to die, and exercising of the power to meet those conditions.
I am obliged to choose between life and death. All that follows from this decision is a manifestation of that choice, of my will.


Some Illuminations on Existence

Further Principles:
I don't want to live.
And I don't want to die.
I don't want anything.
I am not obliged to choose to live or die.
I don't choose to live, and I don't choose to die.
If I live, it is because I happen to live.
If I die, it is because I happen to die.
I'm just watching it all happen.

* * *

I find that I have a drive within me that is the motivating force of my life.
I also find that I have a body.
I don't necessarily want my body.
But I don't want to be rid of my body, either.
I just happen to find myself in a body, so here I am.
Something tells me I am not my body.
I can't be my body, and at the same time, watch my body function.
I don't even want my body to function.
I don't want anything.
My body is functioning because the motivating force of my life makes it function.
I'm pretty sure that if my body does not get killed by some outside force, that someday it will wear itself out and cease to function. I'm not 100% positive of this, but it seems to be a general rule that bodies eventually cease to function, and although mine could be an exception, I doubt it. And even if or when my body does cease to function, that doesn't mean it will cease to exist. But maybe it will cease to exist too. I'll just have to wait and see.
Now, the motivating force of my life is not my body, and perhaps it will continue to exist and function after my body wears itself out and ceases to function.

I don't know if the motivating force of my life will wear itself out as my body probably will. It may be possible for my body to cease functioning before it wears itself out and without outside forces killing it; in which case, the cessation of the functioning of my body would be due to the cessation of the functioning of the motivating force of my life. And just because the motivating force of my life may cease to function, that doesn't mean it ceases to exist. But maybe it'll cease to exist, too.
Now even if the motivating force of my life does cease to function and exist, that doesn't mean that I will cease to function. I never wanted to have a motivating force anyway. Not that I didn't want it. I don't want anything. I'm just watching it all happen.
So who am I?
I don't know.
Maybe I'm eternal.
Or maybe I'll cease to function someday or wear myself out. But that doesn't mean I'll cease existing. But maybe I'll cease to exist, too.
Who knows?
I'll just have to wait and see.

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